Today a key memoir detailing the early exploration and mapping of Newfoundland was launched as the first original e-publication of the Digital Archives Initiative by the QE II Library and the Faculty of Arts.
J.P. Howley was the director of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland from 1868 to 1911 and spent more than 40 years exploring and surveying the interior and coastline of the island. Reminiscences is a memoir based on diaries and notebooks written during these years.
Several years were published in 1997 as Reminiscences of J.P. Howley by the Champlain Society but it wasn’t feasible to publish a complete edition at the time. However as Dr. Patrick O’Flaherty, one of the editors, explains, “To get a true picture of J.P. Howley’s achievement as a scientist and as an observer of the Newfoundland landscape and society, we needed to have the whole work available, not just a selection.” Consequently he and Dr. W.J. Kirwin of Memorial’s English Language Research Centre persevered and after completing the editorial work on the entire manuscript five years ago they determined that e-publication would be the best option.
Then dean of Arts (now VP academic pro tempore), Dr. Reeta Tremblay, suggested that the editors speak to University Librarian Lorraine Busby who directs the Digital Archives Initiative.
“Memorial Libraries is delighted to work in partnership with the Faculty of Arts and the English Language Research Centre to create our first ‘born-digital’ monograph. Howley's Reminiscences is an ideal publication to be created, distributed and accessed through the internet,” said Ms. Busby. “In electronic format, this scholarly work can include all relevant documentation, photographs, and appendices without the limitations imposed in a text-based publication. Memorial Libraries is honoured to assist in making this landmark publication freely available to interested readers from across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond."
The e-publication consists of 2,153 pages of text with a number of drawings and an attached link to a small collection of photographs taken by Howley during his expeditions beginning around 1890.
“This is a huge piece of work that is extremely valuable to Newfoundland and we are very pleased that it originated in the English Language Research Centre, the home of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English,” said Prof. Robert Hollett, who has guided the publication process along with input from the departments of English, folklore and linguistics and from Slavko Manojlovich of the Digital Archive Initiative.